Sunday, June 24, 2018

Stupid Mail

You really have to be profoundly stupid to spend thousands of dollars traveling thousands of miles on a vacation in another country and spend any of it trolling my blog so you can misrepresent what I said (he can't represent it because he can't understand it due to an atrophied, unused mind) to a bunch of dolts who won't read it and who are almost as atrophied as his vestigial mind. 

He is that profoundly stupid, he doesn't feel real unless he's getting attention among his teeny little audience.   

The Magical Thinking of The Secularists (for which you can read "atheists")

A couple of people got upset with me for pointing out how common magical thinking is in current atheism and in the same week one of my relatives became unhinged when I told him I no longer believed that natural selection was a real thing.

First the relation who brought up natural selection as an explanation of a natural phenomenon only to have me commit the thought crime of skepticism in regard to both his application and the idea, itself.  Since I have written lots and lots as to why I believe that natural selection is an ideological delusion, in pretty much everyone of the many, not infrequently contradictory articulations of the idea,  I was prepared for the argument, though other than producing inarticulate and non-responsive anger in a guy who holds a Bachelor of Science in biological topics, that didn't do much.  It did turn out that I'd actually read a lot more about the theories of natural selection, from On The Origin of Species up till today than he had, his knowledge of Darwin's actual claims on that count, by his own admission were confined to whatever of it there was in The Voyage of the Beagle (none to nil) and Darwin's last published work, The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms, with observations on their habits, (likewise) as those were the only words of Darwin he'd ever read, his anger was pretty irrational and a confirmation of what I believe Darwin is for most of his most ardent true believers, a symbol of ideological and class identity, not much to do with science. 

Oh, and as a magic charm or talisman of some sort, and as in cult religions, the religious talisman is as much about group identity as it is supposed to have some potency in manipulating or mitigating the natural world.   Sort of like what Trump is for his true believers as at that link yesterday.

As far as I can tell my relation is still pissed off at me for disbelieving in natural selection, though I assured him my skepticism is a result of my thinking and reading about evolution, that the evolution of species was too big to fit into that clearly inadequate framing,* though that framing is the ideological requirement of anyone who wants to do biology.   Like those who want to claim to be rigorously for The Law of Moses or the Gospel but don't really want to have to hold their behavior to the rigors of those, they will trim and tuck, take short-cuts, deny they are at odds with them, contradict themselves and, as all of science has, made constant and at times complete revisions in the concept and call that the same thing.  When you require people abide by an ideological framing which doesn't really work, you can expect that.**

In the case of the magical thinking of the "brain-only" cult which insists that our ideas have to have their origin in physical structures in the brain, which are made by the brain, the entire thing depends on that kind of magical thinking and worse forms of it.  As I brought up the week before last, to even start the process of the brain being motivated to start making those physical structures and to make the right instead of wrong ones would require magic as the idea couldn't be there to motivate it or instruct it on what it needed to make because that structure wasn't already present in the brain to do that.

When I first realized that this was a definitive hurdle over which materialism couldn't jump the only way out I could see for them was in some kind of telepathic or clairvoyant presence of the idea, but that would disconfirm materialism because the idea couldn't be a physical "thing" and the brain would have had to have recourse to ideas, not as a physical entity, but as some metaphysical entity independent of physical sensory stimulus.  And if you're going to go there, why not admit that the mind is not identical with the brain but is, also, metaphysical.  I had already realized, long ago, that if the brain is not physical then the old atheist dodge about how a non-physical mind would interact with the physical brain overlooked the very good possibility that a non-physical mind would have recourse to qualities and powers that physical objects don't have because, otherwise, such a mind would be in no way different from a physical object.***

And that's not even getting down to where most of the atheist magical thinking really resides, in mid-brow and lower incantations of "DNA" "natural selection" "random chance" "probability" "multi-verse" "evolution (though not as it really has been but in a facile, folk simplification)" and literally dozens of other magic  charms and words of believed potency replace thinking or knowing what they're talking about.  If you press them on any of those, citing what they really mean and the real consequences of taking what your opponent said a lot more seriously than they do, you will get pretty much the same reaction I got over natural selection last week.

When you think very hard about these things the old atheist-materialist-scientistic conceit that they are exempt from magical thinking by virtue of their faith, quite often if not always, it falls apart.  It is the rarest of rare atheist who will admit that a lot of what they base their thinking on has little to no empirical basis and even rarer to get one who admits that their thinking is based in ideological and personal preference, sometimes a preference inherited from their dad or both of their parents.  I am struck at how many hard-core, even blathering barroom style atheists will brag that they learned their atheism from their parents, even as they mock religious believers for believing what they do because their parents brain-washed them into believing it.  And they'll go on and on about how they learned their atheism from the family tradition even if you point that out, holding that, somehow, it's different when it's atheism.   No doubt that difference is magical because there is no rational basis for otherwise believing that it is.

*  I think it is absurd to believe that one force is responsible for every speciation event in the billions of years long history of evolution, that "natural selection" could mean the same thing in all of the species covered under the five denominated kingdoms of life on Earth, which have such radically differing lives and cover every event or even a majority of the events that account for the differential rates of reproduction in every evolving species.  And I especially think it's absurd to think that Charles Darwin, on the basis of his knowledge in the 1850 s would have guessed what that force would be.  Practically the smoking gun forcing skepticism and suspicion is the fact that he used Malthusian economics, an economic theory that favored his economic class interests, as Marx pointing it out, distorting it at the most basic level in order to impose the British class system on all of nature, only to have his theory adopted, immediately, by other members of his class and the analogues of his class in other countries. 

I think the success of Darwinism as the controlling ideology of biological science is ideological and is based in class and ideological interests.  Instead of explaining phenomena, I think it imposes an ideological requirement on how those are to be thought of.  I doubt it really explains much, though it is used to cut out much from consideration.  My guess is that close to every citation of it in the literature is to impose that kind of framing on things and most of the rest are reassurances to others that the person writing the paper or making the claim isn't straying outside of orthodoxy.  There is no greater confirmation of that than the use of accusations of apostasy against pretty conventional, even devoted Darwinists that they have gone out of bounds.  Even a boob like Daniel Dennett, who has no qualifications to do so, likes to make that accusation instead of backing up his claims.

**  Though in the case of The Law and the Gospel, sometimes what has changed is the meaning of words, contexts that existed then but don't exist now.  Divorce, for example, and the serious, literal ban on remarriage after divorce contained in the Gospel.   What changed there was what a marriage was and what divorce was, a means of a man to get rid of a wife and likely children he didn't want to support anymore, casting them into destitution if not death by that action.  What both marriage and divorce are now, at least in come cases, changes the meaning of the ban on remarriage after divorce, though the law being still liable to favor men over women and children, it's always a gamble to depend on the law making things better.

*** It's one of the commoner and stupider atheist misconceptions about the God of monotheism, the God that most thinking Jews, Christians, Muslims, and, as I'm finding, many actual monotheists in what are misrepresented as polytheistic religions, many schools of Hinduism, many forms of African and American indigenous religions in which the "gods" would be better called "saints" or "angels" or some other lesser figure.  I'm finding out, to my surprise, that monotheism is much more widespread than my education led me to believe.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Stupid Mail From A Stupid Male

Oh, please.  

Duncan Black doesn't write anything long enough so that reading it requires "lurking".  Though with your proven illiteracy it probably takes longer than it does a person of normal or above intelligence.  I doubt it took me a minute to read the thing.  But that's longer than much of Duncan's dim clan can sustain their attention.  Which is why he gave up writing. 

Update:  And I just found out that the stupid male is trolling my blog while he's spending thousands of dollars vacationing in a foreign country.  If I went to that bother and expense and had that opportunity, you wouldn't catch me wasting it online being an asshole, what he usually does from the comfort of his own troll hole. 

Update 2:  Well, you see, Stupy, most of my information that you've posted something stupid about me at Eschaton comes from you as you cross post stuff.  But that post wasn't anything to do with you and that cretins of the comment-threads wrote,  it was what Duncan typed in his minimal style so as to convince himself that he still writes something.  

It takes a real idiot to travel thousands of miles at thousands of dollars to do exactly what he'd do sitting at home.  You are that idiot. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Stephen Gallagher - The Kingston File


Crime thriller: Gary Kingston is just a name on a file until he suddenly appears to be involved in a series of frightening murders.

Cast:
Gary: Shaun Prendergast
Michael: Mick Ford
Wendy: Tessa Worsley
Cabbie/Superintendent: Stephen Thorne
Anna: Helena Breck
Michelle: Sue Broomfield
Tramp: Brian Haines
Trevor/First PC: Andrew Branch
Johnny/Sgt Piper: Steven Harrold
Det Insp Reid: Christian Rodska
Jed/Second PC: Stephen Hattersley
Caroline Tate/First WPC: Susie Brann
Sheila/Second WPC: Julie Berry
Willis: Alan Dudley

Directed by Martin Jenkins

This is a full-BBC style production, modest by movie standards but big by radio-drama standards. 

Here's a newer production, it's not my favorite genre, horror, it's not half bad for that.  I'm posting it because this post says it was recorded by the cast around one quite inexpensive Zoom H2N recorder (about $160, USD).  The results are a good example of what can be done with good planning and and use of resources. 


On a weekend camping trip, three boyhood friends rescue an enchanting young hiker lost in the mountains but soon find themselves pawns in a dark ritual as old as the hills with lethal consequences. And as shadows grow longer, a hideous truth emerges regarding the campfire legends of a wrathful old woman said to inhabit the valley.

Written, directed and produced by John Ballentine

Cast

Blaine Hicklin

Shelby Sessler

John Ballentine

Alan Wells


Music by Kevin MacLeod, Zero V, Richard Lainhart, Cormi and Setuniman

I'm not planning on doing any audio drama but I have begun to experiment with an even cheaper Zoom H1N and am pretty impressed with how much more it can do than the huge tape-decks of my youth which cost a lot more in 1960s dollars than these digital recorders do.  And I haven't even done anything like using a splitter to use more than one mic with it, yet.  Of course, you've got to work on the recording on a computer - I'm using the free Audacity program which does pretty much everything I need.  There are free versions of really expensive software you get a license for that come with the recorder but I haven't been able to get them to download properly on my computer yet.

And I would imagine there are people doing work with even less expensive digital recorders, though I don't know how good the sound quality you can get with those using an external mic or a splitter and mics.  I'd be interested in hearing any attempts.

One of these recorders with a good script and good acting and competent editing,  I don't see why anyone wouldn't try it if they're interested in drama.  Or music, for that matter. 

There's No Mystery Here. Donald Trump Was Created By The American Free Press, He Is Sustained By It, His Deluded Cultists Are Formed Through It, There's Nothing Hard About That

Listening to the segment from Majority Report the other day featuring Trump's  Deluded in Duluth fans, I wondered if you polled them if you would find that close to 100% of them listened to FOX and/or Sinclair stations.  My guess is that the Trump-fascist phenomenon is pretty much a completely media created, media sustained mental illness and that it is obvious where it comes from.  And it does meet the classical definitions of a mental illness or  mental incapacity as imagined in the right-wing paranoia campaigns of the 1950s and 60s.   A refusal to distinguish truth from unreality, to even acknowledge that there is a meaningful difference, the insistence that what is obviously false is the truth, the propensity to do evil, etc.  What the American fascists convinced their willing idiots would come with fluoridation came from ingestion of lies in the commercial media.

I am convinced that now that they've learned how to do this the future of democracy is seriously endangered by the media more so than it is from traditional culture because the people who produce hate-talk propaganda use the vestiges of hatred and paranoia in traditional culture, building on and enhancing that where it exists, though it is quite able to create that where it is absent from the upbringing of people.   The force of traditional culture always gives way to mass media.  I am certain that if the media hadn't started promoting racism (anti-PC) crap in the 1970s, this would not be happening now, no matter how much racism and bigotry there had been.  But, freed from public service and decency requirements starting with the election of Reagan (under whose administration Rupert Murdoch was allowed to become a citizen so he could buy FOX and do here what he'd done for Maggie Thatcher in Britland) the slide into fascism accelerated.

As it is in so much else, the American left is hardly helping.  It is more likely to exonerate the obvious source of Trumpian-fascism, the media, while blaming where it does not come from, religion, rural poverty, the underclass, etc.  They have to ignore things like the fact that the hard-core Trumpians have to willfully exempt him from their professed religious beliefs, they have to deny those to support his depraved policies.  They have to pretend that his primary support comes from middle-class, suburban voters many of whom have been to college and many have graduated from college.

That is because to face this TV-media created phenomenon,  Trumpism, would force them to reconsider some of their own, most cherished delusions, some of their foremost faith holdings.

The old faith of secular liberalism that, by magic, all you had to do was let all points of view be aired on the basis of an even field that, somehow, the right one would win out no matter what inequality of resources behind the wrong ones to advantage them over the right one were present was a stupid idea from the start but it is the generalized faith of many millions.   It was a faith created by the very media that I just asserted can have that effect in culture.  It came about in the 20th century through a series of promotions claiming it was a properly American, what with those ringing words of Jefferson (the slave-raping, slave holder) and Madison (well, we don't know that he raped any but he is the foremost reason that the vestiges of slavery still reside in the Constitution and the law derived from it, some of which put Trump in office) and the other 18th century man-gods of American secular would-be liberalism. 

It turns out that the media, Jefferson's conception of that free press he put his faith in far more than even democratic government can be not on a danger to democracy but the foremost transmitter of fascism that destroys it and even with all the more "more speech" that we can muster will not defeat it.

With the Trumpian fascist era, we need to finally face the fact that Holmes, Brandeis, perhaps stupidest of all, William O. Douglas, and the free-speech industry theories that, by magic, the truth, the moral decency -  that is, after all, the only legitimate goal of democratic government - would win out on a totally make-believe level playing field was bound to happen if only all were allowed to say anything they wanted will. That predictably and obviously, ends up favoring whatever those with the most money and the fewest morals want in the end who will harm many people and end democracy.   It was such a stupid idea to think that the same forces that made media advertising successful wouldn't work malevolently in politics and social life that I have to conclude that the Supreme Court justices, the judges, the lawyers, the law-professors and theorists, the social theorists, etc. who came up with the idea didn't much want the truth and a decent life on the basis of equality.

Certainly by the time of Holmes and Brandeis that much was known about the possibility of the media selling depravity and wars of dubious morality or justification.*  I know that by the time Douglas was active doing the same that it was not only known but of obvious danger through witnessing the use of propaganda by Nazi, fascist and communist governments.

And, now, with the 100% media created, media sustained, media promoted phenomenon of Trump, we are still denying that is where the danger starts and how it starts.

This is a piece motivated by me looking at Duncan  Black's tiny essay of this morning, what passes as a long-form piece for him, these days.   If he really doesn't understand where it comes from, he should go back to writing about things he understands like sidewalk curbs.   But he's hardly the only one who should do that.  Maybe he'd find it less hard to understand if he didn't spend so much time believing the "free press" because, out of their own financial interest, they are hardly likely to come clean on this phenomenon.

*  Given Holmes' cynical, aristocratic, snobbish disdain for the minds of what I'm sure he thought of as the common people, his free speech dogmas are a recipe for them being swayed by demagogues and the methods of advertising.   In the past several years of looking more into Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. I am coming to see him more and more of one of the architects of what has brought us to Trumpian fascism and I'm not at all sure he didn't desire that.  There  is a vicious, callous, hatred of those he regarded as inferior in his thinking that should have always made real liberals suspicious of him and skeptical of his rulings, no  matter who temporarily seemed advantaged by them.  I would say the same about the rulings of Douglas who I am just beginning to look at more critically.   I think we are living through the consequences of a lot of what they said to the cheers of secular liberals and others who should have been more skeptical then.

Friday, June 22, 2018

What Is Wrong About The Trump Regime's Treatment of Children They Stole From Their Parents Is Exactly The Same Thing That Is Wrong About The Republican Party

The amoral degeneracy of the Trump regime's theft of children from their parents is something that all of the Republican Party owns.  There has been no one involved in making that disgustingly racist, white supremacist, reduction of children and parents, poor, powerless people, every one, who was not approved by Republicans in the Senate, including the disgraceful John Kelly whose idea it may have been.  He was the Secretary of Homeland Security at the time he is reported to have floated the idea, a Senate confirmed position.

I have seen some in the media falling for one of my state's disgraces, Susan Collins' ass-covering pose of opposing the policy but it shouldn't be forgotten that she was one of the Senators who presented Jeff Sessions,  the key to this policy for confirmation,  she lied about his life-long history of racism and white supremacy in order to mute the opposition to his confirmation.  That was even as he lied about his record to the Senate and was exposed as lying about it under oath. 

The Republicans in the Congress won't do anything to prevent these things unless they are made answerable for their support for the Trump regime and their confirmation of amoral racists and plutocrats like the HHS Secretary Alex Azar, someone who Senator Patty Murray opposed for confirmation.   Among other things she said at the time of his confirmation by the Republican Senate was,  "I am alarmed he may not stand up to President Trump's agenda driven by sabotage and ideology."  The same thing could be said about Jeff Sessions, John Kelly and every single other person the Republican Senate put into place to carry out these kinds of policies.  That is because, as their refusal to move on DACA and any kind of reform in immigration to make it less racist, more realistic, MORE HUMANE AND DECENT, they will not stand up to the Trump agenda any more than they did the racism of their racist base.

And to that list you can add Kirjsten Nielsen, also confirmed to the position that she so shamefully fills.

All Republicans should be answerable for more than their very recent conversions of convenience on the issue of the Trump regime forcibly taking children, babies from their parents and sending them to baby prison, Arpaio desert tent prisons and who knows what other horrors that haven't been revealed yet.  All Republicans who voted for the confirmation of Jeff Sessions, Alex Azar, and the rest of these college educated thugs who are treating these children and parents like trash. 

That is what American, Anglo-American conservatism has come to mean since the time of Thatcher and Reagan, racism, the objectification of people, the commodification of people, the use of the powerless as a tool of ideological propaganda.  It is something which has been promoted on cabloid TV (Lou Dobbs on CNN and now FOX is a huge part of this campaign)  and hate talk radio as well as in conservative publications.  It is a seamless continuation of the worst of American history. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Dolores Catherino - Hope In Turbulence


Ever eager to have musical experiences I've never had before, I found Dolores Catherino's use of greatly expanded chromaticism by using up to at least 106 notes per octave.   The feeling of being constantly off balance but sustained is interesting.  At least it is to me.

Of the people making music with these kinds of instruments, so far she's the one I've heard making actual music with them.  Mostly they're just geeks getting geeky, she's a real musician.
Another heavy work day, last one for a while, I hope.  

I'm beat.  Between last year this time and now, geesh, it catches up with you. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Stupid Mail

Oh, Skeptic Tank's still sore because the last time he came here I kicked his ass around as shown in that link to that post the other day.  He's chicken and figures trash talk and a hilarious pose of intimidation is either bothersome or inhibiting.  Actually, I think my remaining hens are both smarter and braver than he is.  I made fun of his handle and it got to him to the extent he changed it. 

As I said yesterday, everything said about me at Duncan Black's Geritol and Vodka cocktail set is a lie.   It's not as if they ever bother to read things they characterize, they don't go in for even a modest level of complexity or work.   The good news is that they will never do much of anything but grouse and reminisce over the 60s and 70s, brag about what they had for lunch, brag about purchases or the recycled tapes of their garage band because if they tried to do more than that, it wouldn't be helpful.  

Update 2:  So, I'm thinking either he never read The Brothers Karamazov or he did and didn't get the glaring themes of the book.  Dostoevsky was right that the pose of intellectual skepticism leads to destructive nihilism and that with it comes all manner of evil doing, including that of the Trump regime.  I can't imagine missing that point as it's one of the central themes and part of the plot.  As is the conclusion of atheism that if there is no God then everything is allowable.  I've pointed that out here a number of times, without a conception of mutually held moral obligations then the only limits on the desire to do evil of all kinds are a. a weak position from which the would be evil doer figures they can do it or b. they figure they won't be allowed to get away with it, substituting human consequences for God imposed consequences.  And they might be able to escape from human ones.  Stalin was one of the great examples of that.  

Thoughts On Kirjsten Nielsen And Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump And The Media Who Brought Us To This

The key to understanding the ability of people like Jeff Sessions, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, Kirjsten Nielsen. their ICE ICE agents to do evil thing to powerless, endangered children and their parents and guardians is to understand that for them it's all a matter of what's theirs and what isn't theirs.  What is theirs or what they can get to be theirs matters to them, what isn't theirs doesn't fall within their realm of moral concern.  That is if the term "moral" really belongs anywhere in such a mindset because when all you care about are your things, and in such a mindset people and animals are things too,  even love can turn into an occasion for evil, a tool of evil.

That indifference to people outside of the narrow circle of their concern is typical of those who spend their lives avariciously accumulating wealth at the expense of other people, there is absolutely no shock that so many of them would be found in the party of oligarchs and plutocrats.

We're supposed to be impressed and our support swayed with the assertion that these functionaries of American fascism feel for the members of their families, the emphasis being on the possessive adjective, "their".   But what might be a normal, natural desire for ones loved ones to be out of danger, to not be in pain, to be happy, when it becomes a frame of thinking that views people outside of that realm of concern as either potential commodities to be used or deserving no concern and may be disposed of as desired, "the family" a circle of friends and acquaintances and business partners turns into a unit of evil.   While the selfish person is the basic unit of American fascism (and, really all evil considered politically and economically) "the family" when it is the family of the person practicing that way of thinking is a collective of evil into which children are born, are reared in that way of thinking and from which they either break or they become the propagation of that kind of evil in the future.  Most, maybe all families of wealth and those who aspire to it, seriously, have something of traditional organized crime within them.

In the case of some of the racists in the aspiring fascist regime of Donald Trump those outside of the group of concern to them and their supporters, some ill-defined group of white people, use can be made of those outsiders to prey on the racism of so many white people.  The American media, other than the briefest of periods in the late 1960s and early 1970s,* has explicitly fed that racism, though at times presenting it as regional resentment and envy.   The few and brief positive appearances of people of color, Black People, Latinos, People belonging to Indigenous nationalities, Asians in the media have been more than swamped by the racism flowing out of TVs and movie screens, hate-talk radio and to some extent even pop music.  The promotion of evil characters of color has been so pervasive in the commercial media that it was the staple of what were supposed to be some kind of step forward, in blackspoitation movies**, in gangsta crap, and other such self-consuming mentalities promoted to Black People.  I would certainly include boxing and football, in which mostly people of color do violence to each other for the entertainment of largely white audiences for the enrichment of mostly white owners.  Those are our gladiatorial games in this re-run of the decadence of old Rome.

That the old, money-focused Republican Party went for the evil of Nixon's strategy of harnessing the racist vote is, as well a part of their indifference to people.  Nixon was certainly a racist but that wasn't his primary focus, he saw opportunity into turning what would never be his, in his case the votes of Black People, into an opportunity to harvest the votes of racists.  But the power that the oligarchs sought to harness and exploit has come to dominate Republican politics as they have found that between the fact their policies are unpopular and they have a propensity to cause economic collapses, they have become dependent on racism and anti-Latino hatred.  In the form of the media-product Trump, it defeated the old-line Republicans decisively and got put into the presidency through the mechanisms that the slave-owner "founders" put into place for just that purpose.

In looking at the cold, cruel, upper-class model face of Kirjsten Nielsen I was certain she was chosen for that position to be the pretty face on some of our ugliest, most evil policies.  It's plain from what she's said and more so what she's done that behind the blonde magazine cover-girl facade, she is as ugly as Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions.  That's the kind of thinking these people have, cover up the ugly things they do with images and people will focus on the images while they get on with doing evil.  It's the same reason that they put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court to further the cause of white supremacy, the same reason there is a full-employment policy in the American media for the few black faces that they can get to spout Republican-fascism.   I'm certain for all of those willing to do that it comes down to the same thing, "what's in it for me", "what's in it for the small circle of those I care about". 

It is all about the othering of others, turning other people into things we don't need to care about - other people and their pets, don't forget such people care more about their pets than they do "other" children.  Othering is the basis on which people who can do the kind of evil we're seeing done to these children and their parents.   It's the kind of thinking that allows Nielsen and the FOX fascists and the Trump-Nazis to pretend that these children aren't the children of the parents they cry for when they are stolen by the American government and put into concentration camps.  They don't feel that they even owe it to them to tell that truth about them. 

* If in the early 1970s anyone would predict that the collective "American mind" fed on a diet of TV, movies and radio on ACLU, "civil libertarian" free speech would throw up the collection of increasingly hideous and fascistic Republican governments, interspersed with weakened, sometimes voluntarily weakened center-right Democrats would probably have been discounted as an idiot.  From Maine or not.   I can tell you one person I know who predicted it would happen in pretty much the way it has, a carpenter and artist I know from Maine who was making exactly that prediction as he witnessed what pop culture, TV and the movies was presenting starting just about the time George Lucas and Steve Spielberg were getting going.  From the Starwars movies on he pointed out how the popular films were going that way, as were the TV shows that sentimentalized the military and increasingly presented scary people of color.  When Garbage Pail Kids cards were a fad he pointed out that it was a means of setting up the kinds of exclusionary objectification of people and devaluing them on the basis of class and fashion.   I'd like to know how many of the idiot, starry-eyed civil libertarians who were claiming that all was needed was more "more speech" got their predictions of the future right.  I don't know of any of that period who came close.

Though I don't know of a single champion of the ACLU-"civil liberties" industry who thought to care more about the fact that they were enabling racists and fascists and, yes, Nazis who would hurt other people as long as their careers were enhanced and I'm sure most of them, especially those actually in the employ or patronage of the media did all right for themselves and their families.

**  I'm sure someone will raise the supposed satirical intent of many of those movies but if there is one thing I've learned about "satire" it is that for every person who will get that point, there are many more who will not get that point and take it seriously.  Satire was, as Dorothy Parker pointed out, one of the hardest of comic forms to pull off, she scoffed at the alleged masters of it in her time, pointing out they were merely topical gag men.  Anyone who has something to say would be a lot safer in just coming out and saying it.

Note:  The abysmal record of Barack Obama on the same issues needs to be addressed, too.  I think Obama shares a lot more of the mindset I wrote about than his supporters and those who romantically look at his time in office would care to admit.   I think it is generally typical of people in the prep to Ivy league to well paid professions track, whether they be nominally conservative or what gets called liberal, whether Democrats or Republicans, with some exceptions.  But not as many exceptions as people pretend. 

The role that Obama played in making me see that much of American liberalism was hardly liberal can't be overemphasized.  Nor can his role in making me realize that the prep-> Ivy and may as well be Ivy system product has way, way too much of a role in ruling the United States.  Though such people can come from anywhere, you will find more of the ones with power come from that system of ruling class formation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I Need To Put My Feet Up, Eleven Lessons, In One Day!

I've been busy with work, today.  I'll post something tomorrow.   

Until then, remember, literally everything about what has been said here said at the Eschaton troll farm is a lie of Dershowitzian character

Update:  No, if he'd been one of my students I'd have told him he was more suited for peddling timeshares over the phone.  If not phony internet security.  Lying is his only talent. 

Update 2:  I said it was his only talent not that he was particularly good at it.  Though it suffices so he can tell the Eschatots what they want to hear.  

A con man's marks are his most important assets. Look at how someone as stupid as Trump lived off of his. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Footnote On The Depravity of Republican-fascists

I don't believe in the validity of polling, at all.  I do believe that Republicans are depraved and a good number of them are actual fascists if not Nazis.   And now, apparently, some are commie lovers.  And not just any commie, one of the worst of the worst, right down there with Stalin and Hoxha and Ceausescu. 

More Republicans view North Korean leader Kim Jong Un favorably than do House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), according to a poll released Monday.

The Ipsos survey conducted for the Daily Beast found that among Republicans, 19 percent indicated they hold a favorable opinion of Kim, while 17 percent said they have a favorable opinion of Pelosi.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans said they held an unfavorable opinion of Kim, while 72 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Pelosi.

“On a daily basis, President Trump praises this dictator and thug so it only makes sense that his party is following his lead like lemmings over a cliff," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill wrote in an email to The Hill responding to the poll findings.

Trump has done that, exposed the utter anti-democratic and anti-American content of Republican-fascism.

Hate Mail - The Entire Field of Psychology Is Pretty Well Summed Up In The Far Too Little Known Stanford Prison Experiment Scandal

I can't remember if it was when I realized cable TV sucked so I dropped it or if I took the great change to HD TV to get rid of the boob tube altogether, one of my brothers-in-law was horrified.  He gave a list of "great things" on TV that I'd be missing.  As he listed things and I said I didn't have any interest in it, his list shortened.  In the end I told him that if he threw a pail of quarters into a cesspool I wouldn't go swimming in it to find them.   I'd like a show of hands, who would do that?  And there are a lot fewer "good shows" on TV than there are quarters in a pail.

You should soak your head so as to cool off and read this article recently published at Vox about one of the most famous and widely believed experiments in the post-war history of psychology, you know, the period when it was supposed to have left the shoddy pre-war practices behind it.  Remember, it's only one of many such experiments that have been debunked after it entered into "science" and from there into the received common wisdom of the college educated and the watchers of TV and movies.

The Stanford Prison Experiment, one of the most famous and compelling psychological studies of all time, told us a tantalizingly simple story about human nature.

The study took paid participants and assigned them to be “inmates” or “guards” in a mock prison at Stanford University. Soon after the experiment began, the “guards” began mistreating the “prisoners,” implying evil is brought out by circumstance. The authors, in their conclusions, suggested innocent people, thrown into a situation where they have power over others, will begin to abuse that power. And people who are put into a situation where they are powerless will be driven to submission, even madness.

The Stanford Prison Experiment has been included in many, many introductory psychology textbooks and is often cited uncritically. It’s the subject of movies, documentaries, books, television shows, and congressional testimony.

But its findings were wrong. Very wrong. And not just due to its questionable ethics or lack of concrete data — but because of deceit.

IN SCIENCE, TOO OFTEN, THE FIRST DEMONSTRATION OF AN IDEA BECOMES THE LASTING ONE.

A new exposé published by Medium based on previously unpublished recordings of Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the study, and interviews with his participants, offers convincing evidence that the guards in the experiment were coached to be cruel. It also shows that the experiment’s most memorable moment — of a prisoner descending into a screaming fit, proclaiming, “I’m burning up inside!” — was the result of the prisoner acting. “I took it as a kind of an improv exercise,” one of the guards told reporter Ben Blum. “I believed that I was doing what the researchers wanted me to do.

Tell me, for a start, how any psychology experiment can prevent subjects from doing exactly what Blum admitted he was doing, guessing what the researchers wanted him to do and doing that?   Or trying to guess what the researchers wanted and not doing it on purpose or otherwise messing with them?   Unless the subjects admit to doing that, what they did will be presented as if it was some kind of natural phenomenon representing events and thinking "in the wild" as it were.  As it is, any psychological experiment is entirely dependent on the self-reporting of subject who may be mistaken as to what happened, may lie about what happened, might not be able to admit their calculated attempts to please or mess with the researchers, etc.

Of course there is no way for anyone conducting such an experiment to prevent that or other, similar faulty aspects of psychological experimentation from happening and, as in this, what should be come an infamous example of pseudo-scientific fraud, such junk research will be reviewed by others with faculty positions in the pseudo-science, reported in their pseudo-scientific journals and will become official science, no matter what crap it is that they publish.  I would bet that a comprehensive review of psychological experimentation would show that there are ideological and cultural predispositions that are reinforced by the junk science. 

And, if you read the article in full, that was only one aspect of the total trashing of the alleged standards that comprise the scientific method in this very famous, very often cited experiment that the students of intro-psy courses put into the popular culture through putting its conclusions into their TV and movie scripts, their play scripts and into trashy novels.  Antd, again, I believe there is probably an ideological predisposition that was being pushed by those who conducted the experiments, either on the basis of their own ideological orientation or by reinforcing what they knew reviewers would want to hear BECAUSE IT FIT WITH PREVIOUS PUBLISHED PSYCHOLOGY, OR BECAUSE THEY SHARED THAT IDEOLOGICAL DISPOSITION.

The Zimbardo prison experiment is not the only classic study that has been recently scrutinized, reevaluated, or outright exposed as a fraud. Recently, science journalist Gina Perry found that the infamous “Robbers Cave“ experiment in the 1950s — in which young boys at summer camp were essentially manipulated into joining warring factions — was a do-over from a failed previous version of an experiment, which the scientists never mentioned in an academic paper. That’s a glaring omission. It’s wrong to throw out data that refutes your hypothesis and only publicize data that supports it.

Perry has also revealed inconsistencies in another major early work in psychology: the Milgram electroshock test, in which participants were told by an authority figure to deliver seemingly lethal doses of electricity to an unseen hapless soul. Her investigations show some evidence of researchers going off the study script and possibly coercing participants to deliver the desired results. (Somewhat ironically, the new revelations about the prison experiment also show the power an authority figure — in this case Zimbardo himself and his “warden” — has in manipulating others to be cruel.)

Psychology is and from the beginning was a pseudo-science because it proposed to study phenomena that couldn't be directly observed, defined adequately to determine of the phenomena allegedly reported were, actually, representative of repeated events or even if they actually existed anywhere but in the minds of the researchers.  It was reading William James early psychological writing that convinced me that a combination of the authority and influence of those who first proposed psychology was as proper scientific study and their desire for their proposed study to have the prestige and power of science that led universities, other authoritative bodies, governments and, worst of all, courts to pretend that what  they were doing was science when everything about it demonstrated that it was not science and there was no prospect for such a study to be able to meet the exigencies required to be science. 

At this point, there is no reason for anyone to take much of anything in psychology or the other behavioral and social studies called "science" as reliable because largely it isn't.  If there can be some salvage work done to find something reliable in the approximately hundred forty years of stuff published, I don't know.  It would be like finding quarters in a cesspool to find them.   It is an appalling thing that so many judges rely on the crap that comes out of psychologists to destroy or warp the lives of so many people. 

Pure Insanity Caused By Fashion And The Simple Faith Of Far Too Many Of Us

In looking at the NPR website and its story about the potential dangers or promise of commercial, at-home alleged genetic testing kits, their example of a woman who bought one to see if she were at risk from a genetically inherited predisposition for breast cancer, I was a little surprised to see this picture of her.



Look at her left arm.  Covered with tattoos.  I wonder if it ever occurred to her as she had who knows what dye under her skin in an attempt to be groovy that something the artiste injected into her might, possibly be carcinogenic. 

The story makes me wonder about the faith people put in people they pay for things, the faith that a commercial company would be selling accurate and well-understood genetic testing, well done, and the faith that so many people put in tattoo artistes to not be injecting them with potential poisons and the clearly inadequate, at times criminally irresponsible safety-testing industry and the corrupted government agencies that permit ill-tested things to be injected into us, fed to us, to enter into us and our environment.  Not to mention the blatantly corrupt state governments that permit a lot of that under our idiotic federal system.

You would think that someone scared enough of their own genes to spend two-hundred bucks on a genetic test of dubious worth would have at least given as much thought to getting tattooed as that.  I don't know what you do about it once it's been done.  Even the removal of it would, I believe, leave the chemicals in your body.  I expect any day now we'll get reports on cancer caused by people getting large tats, which I am told are called "sleeves". 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Christmas Crap In June

Helping my sister, who was a school teacher for more than 40 years move, volunteering to clean out some of her place, I've got to ask, has anyone in history ever gotten something they ever wanted or used from a Secret Santa?   The number of entirely unused scented candles I threw away would probably fuel a small community for a few days.  A weird number of which have cooky and candy themed scents (blech).  Did they think she's 8?   Then there were the Christmas Themed hand towels, the decorations that were never used (lots of that crap is going to some charity thrift shop come November).  It's revolting.

And then there's the everyday teacher-trash that accumulates, useless notes of useless workshops, junk bought for her classroom and never used.  Free junk she picked up intending to make use of it but which never was used.  Rocks.  Boxes and boxes of rocks from when she taught science.   Other than the rocks that are going to join up with the native ones, it's all going to get recycled or sent to a thrift store.   Has there ever been a grade school teacher who isn't a hoarder of such junk?

I'm going to start unloading my hoard of junk because I don't want any of them writing a blog post about having to clean out my place when I kick the bucket.  But I don't have any of that junk, I got rid of most of that kind of stuff when I moved into a very small house.

I've still got three other school teachers in my family to go.

Susan Collins Does Her Usual Dance To Distract From Her Complicity

Is there anyone in Washington DC who is a bigger hypocrite and liar than Trump?  Sarah Huckabee Sanders?   Well, I think that Maine's "moderate" Republican Senator Susan Collins has got them topped in at least the hypocrisy angle.  This morning the piece of shit in a taylored suit, one of the Republican Senators who presented Jeff Sessions for the nomination to Attorney General,* who lied about his obvious and life-long history of racism and white supremacy to do that announced that she's ever so opposed to Jeff Sessions policy of stealing children from their parents and sending them to concentration camps, some of them sounding like the ones that the infamous Joe Arpio got into trouble for sending adults to, did what she always does when Republican depravity creates a potential problem for her. 

Collins says she opposes family separations at border, but calls Democratic bill to stop them too broad

The Republican senator came out against the Trump policy Sunday morning.

I can bet that she will do what she always does, make a show of regretting, of disapproving, a pantomime act of opposing this appalling criminal act but, in the end, Republicans know she'll find some way to help continue it unless her vote on the policy won't matter.  If Republicans can sustain this depravity, then, and only then, might she make the useless gesture of voting to end it.  

She is as disgusting as any member of the Trump criminal regime. 

* Read this from her statement in support of Sessions as AG.  

As a Senator, Jeff Sessions has worked across the aisle to lead important legislative reforms. He has worked with Senator Dick Durbin to pass the Fair Sentencing Act, a law that addressed the unfair racial disparity in crack cocaine sentencing. He worked with Senator Ted Kennedy to pass the Prison Rape Elimination Act and with Senator Chris Coons on the Reauthorization of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. 

And now she is going to find any way she can to make sure that now his fat, white ass is in as AG that he'll be able to make every one of those as dead a letter of the law as he possibly can and no one who has any honesty can claim that it is at all surprising. 

Hate Mail - It Doesn't Matter How Simple The Questions Are If You Can't Answer Them The Whole Cathedral of Atheist Faith Falls

You don't seem to understand how proving something works.  Since you're the one demanding proof, that would seem to be rather a problem for your position.  Any failure to answer questions like the ones I posed is a failure for the theory of "brain-only" and unless they can answer those, it is a definitive failure and an excellent reason to disbelieve the claims no matter what science credentials those pushing the atheist-faith holding hold.

An emotional attachment to atheism and a hatred and hostility to God and religion is what I have concluded is the real issue, the various intellectual supports that they come up with, up to and including multiverse conjecture and the power atheist cosmologists, physicists, etc. give themselves and, in the hardest cases such as pretty much the inventor of the modern version of that,  Hughes Everett, everyone to create universes out of nothing and gas on academically and popularly about their imagined universes even more elaborately than some Hindus and Buddhists who did kind of the same thing did.  Only they pretend it's science that they're doing since their descriptions are in equations instead of prose.

And, in the mean time, while those scientists are creating their mind-forged universes, their colleagues in inserting atheist ideology into the biological sciences have the task of reducing minds into nothing but chemical reactions and the electrical activity that come with those, the basis of randomly present conditions within brains without any possibility of those chemical reactions having any transcendent properties such as truth.

That all of the science they pretend they're doing and insisting that everyone believe is entirely dependent on the reality of that last thing, the transcendent property of truth, they've cut the legs out from under everything they've been doing.  The modern ideology of atheist-materialist-scientism is a very fancy delusion,  sold by and held through the hegemony that ideologically motivated atheists have in science and other academic fields but it is as decadent in its choice of not admitting to what they're doing and why they're doing it.  If one in a hundred-thousand or more of the people who believe it believe in it on any basis more sound than that "this I know because scientists tell me so," I'd need to see proof of that. That they have to knock out the underpinnings of the science they're pretending to do while they do it is secondary to their real motivation, an ideological attack on religion and God.

If you can't get past those questions I first posed in 2015 about how the brain knows how to make the structure to be an accurate or true idea about any aspect of external reality before the idea to cause it to begin to make the structure, how to make the right structure to be an accurate or true idea, how to know if it's made the right and not the wrong structure (any such wrong structure then being the ONLY representation of the idea physically present in the brain to inform any "truth testing" of the idea) and to judge if it has done the right thing, THE ENTIRE THEORY OF IDEAS BEING STRUCTURES THE BRAIN BUILDS FAILS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T PASS THE TEST OF EMPIRICISM, THE VERY BASIS ON WHICH SCIENCE WAS BUILT.  Any proposed solution to that must match the human experience of thinking new ideas that the person having them never held before, at the speed in which we have those ideas. 

Science also has the limit that what it holds must meet the test of logical soundness, anything, even anything that is real but which can't pass the test of logical soundness can't be held to be capable of being treated with science.  That's also something that atheist scientists want to junk, both in stuff like multiverse cosmology and in those pseudo-sciences that pretend to treat the mind, the minds of animals, the combination of those in societies and communities and cultures.  Much if not most of that pretense has been motivated by atheists wanting to extend science beyond where it can go and still be science.  If you want a good example of that, you can look at the history of psychology which is little but building imaginary structures only to have them fall down into little if not nothing.  Yet university faculties have not called bull-shit to the pretense that what they do is science.   Changing the name of that effort into neuro-science or cognitive-science doesn't really change the fact that their methods are not scientific, their peer review is self-interested and putridly dishonest and their history is what should be a huge scandal.   I don't think it's any wonder that Jordan Peterson is from the world of big-time university psychology, his net-based angry, white-boy cult is just another, if perhaps the biggest, psychotheraputic cult in a continual history of those arising from people duped by that pseudo-science.  That's as true of those who claim to be religious* as those who are atheists.

None of which gets past those problems in those questions listed above.  If you can't get past those, you fail and so does the alleged science of "brain only".

* Peterson is a huckster.   Any pretense of religiosity he has is part of his sales pitch, I see no religious content in his cult.  His cult is based on any number of widely popular beliefs, such as the ubiquitous faith in natural selection and neo-eugenics, what most people call "evolutionary psychology".

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Marie Ndiaye - Hilda




Hilda is French-Senegalese novelist Marie Ndiaye's first drama, dramatised for radio by Sarah Woods. It examines modern domestic day slavery through a wealthy woman, Mrs Lemarchaud who becomes obsessed with the new nanny she employs. There's a creepy , almost unlikely edge to this piece, reminiscent of the films of David Lynch, but with absurdity, ideas of control and class are brought into greater relief.

Mrs. Lemarchand the mistress of the house , develops a relationship with Hilda's husband, first to glean more information about Hilda and her life, and , then to exert her increasingly irrational power over both of them Mrs. Lemarchand's control over Frank is constant, even when he starts to fight back . Money and class power through.


It's unsettling highlighting the ramifications of class, power and control. Hilda is a stripped-down 3 hander, but it is full of ideas. It may be chilling and on the edge of the absurd, but there in lies its power.

Mrs Lemarchand Siân Phillips
Franck Nick Haverson
Corinne Rachel Austin
Producer Susan Roberts
Author Marie NDiaye

Adaptor Sarah Woods

It's been a while since I'd heard anything from Siân Phillips.   Guess that's what happens when you stop watching PBS.
SS

Image result for ss arresting jewish boy

ICE ICE

Image result for ICE arresting children


Friday, June 15, 2018

Nope, You Can't Blame Leviticus For The Child Concentration Camps That The Trump Regime Has Started

I ran across a comment a little while ago that, though it has its heart in the right place gets its facts just about entirely wrong.   The comment is:

The moron [Trump] and accomplices [Sessions, Kirstjen Nielsen, John Kelly (whose idea it seems to have been), etc.] seem to have dropped the Beatitudes from their 'bible', making Leviticus great again.

Well, Leviticus does contain some harsh laws, some of them meant for the priestly class that have been extended to anyone and some which have been entirely misrepresented for centuries.   But it doesn't say what the comment claims it did in regard to Trump's putting children into horrific, cold concentration camps.  It says:

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus: 33-34

Leviticus also says:

You shall have one law for the alien and for the citizen: for I am the Lord your God. 
24:22

and:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
19: 9-10

In the regulations in The Law saying to leave crops in the field for the poor and alien to glean, what farmers were required to leave were the major cash crops, grain, olives for oil and grapes for wine.  It wasn't a small thing they were told to share with the poor.  It wasn't a tithe of mint and cumin.  Nothing could be farther from the modern Western industrial-capitalist model of thought or behavior.

There are a large number of Old Testament texts commanding that the alien, the stranger, the sojourner, all be treated with justice.  The commands are as strong as the many other commands in Leviticus and the rest of the Old Testament to treat mercifully and kindly and, most of all, justly with widows and orphans.  Children without parents with them, in other words. 

No, everything about this Trump-fascist deliberate cruelty overseen by the repulsive Sessions and Nielsen their ICE ICE "defense eschalon" is forbidden in the strongest terms in Leviticus, what it is is pure American racism and the natural modern Republican love of cruelty to poor, dark-skinned, powerless people.  Though there are Mammonists posing as Christians who have websites to try to deny that's what the Bible says, as it also points out and gives examples of,  Satan will distort scripture for evil purposes.